Flag From Admiral Farragut's Ship At Fort Moutrie, South Carolina in 1861 - Original ink tag reads: “This flag was on Admiral Farragut’s ship at Fort Moultrie, SC at the beginning of the Civil War. Presented to Dyer’s Post, January 31, 1891, by Col. Peirson of Painesville, Ohio.” Vibrant silk flag remnants from the U.S.S. Brooklyn framed with original ink tag and engraving from Harper's Weekly dated "January 16, 1861" of the U.S. Brooklyn. Frame measures 34" x 37" x 2 1/8" deep.
Colonel Peirson enlisted in 1862 as a Private and was mustered into Company "I" 26th New Jersey Infantry. He was promoted to Sergeant Major on September 18th 1862, then to the rank of 1st Lieutenant on January 16th 1863, then as a Captain on 8th 1863 and finally as a Major on June 30th 1865.
The first of three ships of the US Navy, which have borne the same name, the first, the USS Brooklyn was a wooden screw sloop launched in 1858 by Jacob Westervelt and Son, New York, New York, and commissioned 26 January 1859, with Captain David Farragut in command.
Brooklyn was active in Caribbean operations until the start of the American Civil War at which time she became an active participant in the Union blockade of the Confederate States of America.
With her one 10-inch gun and twenty 9-inch guns, Brooklyn was a formidable fighting ship that could deliver damaging broadside, and served on the Atlantic Ocean coast as well as the Gulf Coast of the United States in intercepting blockade runners. Brooklyn also served gallantly attacking Confederate forts and other installations on the Mississippi River. Post-war, Brooklyn remained active, serving for some years in the European theatre, as well as circumnavigating the globe. She was retired in 18889 and sold in 1890 after having well served her country for over three decades.
J Larcey Pierson:
Residence was not listed;
Enlisted on 6/29/1863 as a Adjutant.
On 6/29/1863 he was commissioned into Field & Staff NJ 2nd Cavalry
He was Mustered Out on 11/1/1865 at Vicksburg, MS
* Major 6/30/1865 (Not Mustered)
NEW JERSEY 2ND CAVALRY (also known as the NJ 32nd Infantry)
Second Cavalry.-Col., Joseph Karge; Lieut.-Cols., Marcus L. W. Kitchen, P. Jones Yorker Majs., Frederick B. Revere, Peter D. Vroom, Jr., Philip L. Van Rensselaer. This regiment was recruited in the summer of 1863 and left Trenton for Washington on Oct. 5 of that year, reaching the capital on the following day with 890 men. On Oct. 17 Co. A was attacked by Mosby at Fairfax, Va., and the company was routed, the captain, with 2 sergeants and 1 private being taken prisoners and 1 corporal wounded and left on the field. Being transferred to the southwest, the first skirmish of importance took place at Iuka, Miss., where two companies of the regiment encountered a force of the enemy and drove it through the place, losing 1 man killed. On Dec. 6, a change in the plan of operations in that quarter having been determined upon, the regiment was transferred by steamer to Columbus, Ky., whence, on the 15th, it proceeded to Union City, Tenn., where it was placed in the cavalry brigade commanded by Col. Waring, of the 4th Mo. cavalry. In Jan., 1864, the command moved forward rapidly without encountering the enemy in any force, but meeting and dispersing small gangs of guerrillas, until the 2nd Jersey, having the advance, came into collision with and routed a force of hostile cavalry near Aberdeen, Miss., the same evening occupying Prairie Station and destroying an immense quantity of corn, together with cotton and other property belonging to the Confederate government. The regiment, still advancing, skirmished for some hours with Forrest's cavalry, finally reaching the vicinity of West Point, about 100 miles north of Meridian, where Sherman's cooperating column had already arrived. The following day it was also engaged and on Feb. 22 it participated in a fierce conflict at Okolona. On April 10, Major Yorke, with 300 men of the regiment, was sent against the enemy in the vicinity of Raleigh, Tenn., some distance north of Memphis, and coming up with the hostile force bravely charged into its midst, driving it into its brigade camp, after inflicting severe loss in killed and prisoners. The regiment also participated in the fight at Bolivar, Tenn., and lost in the engagement 2 killed and 6 wounded. The conduct of the regiment in the disastrous affair at Guntown, Miss., both in the main action and on the retreat, was creditable in the highest degree, but it suffered heavily, losing 8 officers and 130 men out of 17 officers and 350 men taken into action. On July 11, with other troops, it moved in search of the enemy encountering him at Port Gibson, Miss., and losing in the combat which ensued, through alleged mismanagement, 2 men killed and Lieut. Braun, 26 men and 2 guidons captured. Two days afterward, at an early hour in the morning, the enemy in some force made a sharp assault upon the Union picket line, pressing it with equal vigor along the entire front but the assailants were promptly met and after an hour's fighting were driven in confusion. Being ordered into Arkansas and disembarking at Osceola, the command crossed a swamp some 18 miles in length, the mud and water reaching to the saddle-girths of the horses, to Big lake, where after some brisk firing a Confederate train consisting of some 18 wagons, loaded with over 900 stand of arms of approved pattern, together with 11 prisoners and 2 commissioned officers, was captured. Reaching Verona, Miss., on Dec. 25, the command at once charged gallantly on the enemy, who was completely surprised and offered but a feeble resistance, most of them escaping into the timber under cover of the darkness leaving as spoils, eight buildings filled with fixed ammunition, estimated at 30 tons, 5,000 stands of new carbines, 8,000 sacks of shelled corn, a large quantity of wheat, an immense amount of quartermaster stores, clothing camp and garrison equipage, a train of cars and a large number of army weapons which had been captured by Forrest from Gen. Sturgis during the latter's disastrous expedition in June. The regiment also participated in the fight at Egypt Station, in which 74 men and over 80 horses of the 2nd N. J. were killed or wounded. The regiment returned by steamer to Memphis, having lost during the entire expedition 19 men killed, 69 wounded and 2 missing, and 155 horses and mules killed or disabled. The regiment was finally mustered out on Nov. 1, 1865. (This was also known as the 32nd N. J. volunteers.)
Brooklyn – the first ship so-named by the U.S. Navy – was the first of five screw sloops of war authorized by the U.S. Congress on March 3, 1857; laid down later that year by the firm of Jacob A. Westervelt and Son; launched in 1858; and commissioned on January 26, 1859, Capt. David G. Farragut in command.
On February 5, Brooklyn got underway for a trial run to Beaufort, South Carolina, where she arrived on the 11th. Following a week's visit to that port, she headed for the West Indies to investigate conditions in Haiti where liberal forces had ousted Emperor Soulouque and installed Fabre Geffrard as President.
Farragut found that the people of Haiti were delighted to be free of the oppressive rule of the former monarch and with the end of a racial war that had bled their nation. Upon the recommendation of the American consul, Farragut sailed for the Isthmus of Panama.
After visiting Aspinwall, Brooklyn set a course for the Mexican coast and reached Veracruz early in April. The legal president of Mexico, Benito Juárez – who had been driven from Mexico City by forces of General Miguel Miramón of the Clerical Party—was making that seaport his temporary capital.
The United States, which recognized the Juarez government, had sent former Maryland Congressman Robert Milligan McLane to Veracruz as the American minister and ordered Farragut to make Brooklyn available to McLane so that he might keep abreast of developments in the ongoing civil war and assist American consuls who were striving to protect U.S. citizens and property. During part of the time the screw sloop of war lay off Veracruz, McLane resided on board.
In July Brooklyn proceeded to Pensacola, Florida, for coal, provisions, and water, and she reached that port on the 15th. As soon as she finished replenishing, the ship returned to Veracruz, but she was back at Pensacola again by September 7. From there, she sailed for New York and reached the New York Navy Yard on the 26th of that month.
With McLane—who had returned to the United States for consultations with the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. President—on board, Brooklyn departed New York Harbor on November 8 and headed back toward the Gulf of Mexico. She arrived at Veracruz on the 21st and remained in port while McLane negotiated an agreement with the Juárez Government. After the treaty was signed on December 12, she got underway again and proceeded to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she arrived on the 18th.
With her bunkers full once more, she headed down the Mississippi River on Christmas Eve and crossed the gulf to Veracruz. However, in mid- January she reembarked McLane and took him to New Orleans so that he might catch a train for Washington, D.C., where he was needed to explain the treaty he had negotiated with Juárez to doubtful senators.
From New Orleans, Brooklyn proceeded to Pensacola to prepare for a return to Mexican waters. However, before McLane could get back to the Gulf Coast from Washington, orders reached Pensacola sending her north. She stood out to sea on February 19, 1860 and reached New York City on the 27th. Underway again on March 11, she arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, the following afternoon and there awaited McLane whom she embarked and delivered back to Veracruz on the 28th.
The steamer operated along the Mexican coast through the spring and into the summer carrying McLane to various ports where he conferred with the American consuls. Late in July she left the Mexican coast and returned to Norfolk early in August. There, she received orders to prepare for a voyage carrying members of a scientific expedition to the Gulf of Mexico to find a route across the isthmus of Chiriqui. She sailed on the 13th and reached Chiriqui, Baca del Toro, Panama, on the 24th. But for a run to Aspinwall from September 12 to 17, she remained off the expedition base at Chiriqui until mid-October when she returned to Aspinwall. There on October 20, Capt. William S. Walker relieved Farragut in command.
Shortly thereafter, Brooklyn returned to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and she remained in the Norfolk area through the end of 1860 while enthusiasm for secession swept through the deep South in the wake of Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency. Early in January 1861, Capt. Walker received orders sending Brooklyn to Charleston, South Carolina, with messages for the steamer Star of the West which had sailed south to relieve beleaguered Fort Sumter. However, when she reached Charleston Harbor, she found the channel leading into port obstructed and learned that the resupply effort had failed. Consequently, she returned to Hampton Roads.
The following month, she received orders for a similar mission which she carried out with great success, relieving Fort Pickens, at Pensacola, Florida. After helping to thwart Confederate attempts to wrest that highly valuable Federal toehold on strategic Florida territory from Union hands, Brooklyn sailed west along the Gulf of Mexico coast to establish the blockade of the Mississippi Passes.
She, USS Powhatan, and two gunboats made a number of captures off Pass a l’Outre and Southwest Pass, but so many ships were getting by them that Comdr. Charles Henry Poor – who relieved Capt. Walker as Brooklyn's commander in April 1861—tried to go upriver to the Head of Passes where traffic might better be throttled. Low water, however, caused her to run aground twice before she abandoned the effort.
On June 30, 1861, the Confederate warship CSS Sumter raced out of Pass a l’Outre while Brooklyn had left her station in pursuit of another ship. Upon seeing the fleet Southern cruiser, Brooklyn forsook her first chase and used full sail and maximum steam in an attempt to overtake Sumter but to no avail, for her quarry soon escaped over the horizon and out of sight. Badly in need of repairs, Brooklyn sailed north late in the autumn and was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Recommissioned on December 19, 1861, the screw sloop—commanded by Capt. Thomas T. Craven—dropped down the Delaware River on the 27th and stood out to sea, bound for the gulf. After stopping at Key West, Florida, she reached Ship Island, Mississippi, on January 22, 1862. On February 2 she sailed for Pass a l’Outre where, on the 19th, she captured the steamer Magnolia which was attempting to slip out to sea with 1,200 bales of cotton.
Meanwhile, the Navy Department had divided its forces in the gulf into two organizations: the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, commanded by Flag Officer William W. McKean, and the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, commanded by Flag Officer David G. Farragut who arrived at Ship Island in March. Besides carrying out the blockade, Farragut had been instructed to lead a fleet of warships up the Mississippi River to capture New Orleans, Louisiana.
After spending the latter part of March and the first part of April getting his deep-draft ocean-going vessels over the bar and into the river, Farragut moved his fleet up the Mississippi to a position just out of range of the guns that guarded the river at Confederate Forts Jackson and St. Philip.
Attached to Farragut's force was a flotilla of small sailing vessels each of which carried a 13-inch mortar. In mid-April these little warships—mostly schooners—began a bombardment of the Southern forts and continued the attack until the early hours of April 24 when they increased the tempo of their firing to their maximum rate while Farragut's deep-draft men-of-war got underway for a dash past the Southern guns. Brooklyn was
"...struck several times before she could bring her guns to bear. As soon as that could be accomplished we opened fire upon Fort Jackson and also upon Fort St. Philip, fighting both batteries at intervals. We were fouled by one of our gunboats, but received no damage. The ram Manassas attempted to sink us by running into us, but did us little injury. A fire raft came down the river upon us, but we succeeded in crossing it without injury. We came near getting foul of some hulks and rafts of logs, which kept us under fire longer than we otherwise should have been."
Eight men from Brooklyn were killed in the action and 21 wounded before she reached comparative safety beyond the range of the Rebel artillery. Later that day, after making needed repairs, Farragut's warships resumed their movement upriver and reached New Orleans on April 25. When that city had surrendered, Brooklyn—which had been damaged more seriously by her collision with the ram Manassas than Craven had at first realized—received a patch of heavy planking some 24 feet long over a long tear in her hull. One of Brooklyn's sailors, Quartermaster James Buck, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the battle.
Farragut's orders called for him to clear the Mississippi of all Confederate forces afloat and of all defensive works along the river banks while moving up stream until meeting another Union squadron—commanded by Flag Officer Charles Henry Davis – which had begun fighting its way downriver from Cairo, Illinois. Hence, early in May after Union Army troops commanded by Major General Benjamin F. Butler had arrived in transports and had taken over New Orleans, Brooklyn and six other warships ascended the river.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi, surrendered with no resistance, but Vicksburg, Mississippi, proved to be another matter. The Confederate Army had so fortified its riverside hills that it could not be taken without the support of a strong land force. Since the Union Army did not have a sufficient number of troops available in the region to accomplish this purpose, Farragut's men-of-war returned to New Orleans.
There awaiting him were orders from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles reiterating the importance of a junction with Davis's force above Vicksburg, Mississippi. Thus the Union warships again reversed course and painfully worked their way upstream to a position just out of range of Vicksburg's guns. This time they had the support of the Mortar Flotilla which conducted an intense preliminary bombardment of the riverside fortress. At two hours past midnight on June 28, the fleet got underway in two columns and began steaming up stream.
Unfortunately, the steamers that had towed the mortar schooners up stream got in the way of Brooklyn and two gunboats and prevented their getting upstream past the Vicksburg batteries. As a result they drew much of the Southern fire while Farragut's other ships pushed upstream and out of range. Shortly before dawn, Brooklyn dropped down stream to a place of greater safety and remained there to be on hand to support Farragut in any way possible should an opportunity to do so occur before the Flag Officer returned below in mid-July. As the hot summer days passed, more and more illness broke out among the ship's crew and the falling water level in the river made it necessary for the ship to retire downstream toward New Orleans.
Meanwhile, on July 2, Capt Henry H. Bell relieved Capt. Craven in command of Brooklyn. On August 6, the screw sloop engaged Confederate batteries at Donaldsonville, Louisiana, driving the Southern artillerymen from their guns; and, on the 9th and 10th, she took part in combined operations which partially destroyed that city in reprisal for guerrilla attacks on Union shipping from that town.
Soon thereafter, Brooklyn left the Mississippi and steamed to Pensacola for more permanent repairs to the damage she had suffered while fighting her way past Forts Jackson and St. Philip and colliding with Manassas. On October 6, orders sent the ship to blockade duty off Mobile Bay, and she spent the rest of 1862 in that vicinity alert for blockade runners and the appearance of Confederate cruisers which might threaten Union gunboats guarding the coast.
Early in January 1863, when word reached Farragut that a surprise Southern attack against Union warships at Galveston, Texas, had recaptured that port and broken the blockade there, he placed Bell in charge of the small force sent to reestablish Union control. Shoal water prevented Brooklyn from participating in a bombardment of Confederate gun positions in Galveston harbor on January 10; and on the night of the 11th, CSS Alabama sank Brooklyn's most formidable consort the sidewheel steamer USS Hatteras, in a fierce but rapid engagement some 30 miles off Galveston. This setback prompted Bell to give up his plan to retake that port pending the arrival of powerful shallow draft reinforcements. Brooklyn did continue to blockade the Texas city into the summer.
On 25 May, Bell "...left Commander James Robert Madison Mullany in the USS Bienville in charge of the blockade of Galveston ... and proceeded down the coast of Texas as far as the Rio Grande, to ascertain the amount of interior coast trade and its exit....
" On the morning of the 27th, Brooklyn captured the 17-ton, cotton-laden sloop, Blazer, which was heading for Matamoros, Mexico. The next day, boats from Brooklyn took the small sloop Kate. Three days later, she anchored off the bar outside Brazos Santiago, Texas", and sent "...an expedition of four boats and 87 men...to capture vessels there...."
As the Union boats approached Point Isabel, the Southerners "...set fire to a large schooner." They brought out the 100-ton schooner Star and a fishing scow. At Point Isabel, they captured the 100-ton, British sloop Victoria of Jamaica but ran that vessel aground while attempting to get out to sea and so burned her. After the landing parties had returned to the ship, Brooklyn returned to Galveston.
Late in July she returned to New Orleans where, on August 2, Lt. Comdr. Chester Hatfield relieved Bell in command to free the commodore to take temporary command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron while Farragut returned home in USS Hartford for a well-earned leave. On the 10th, Capt. George F. Emmons relieved Hatfield and sailed Brooklyn north on the 13th to receive badly needed repairs. She emerged from the Southwest Pass the next day; touched at Port Royal, South Carolina, on the 21st, at Charleston, South Carolina, on the 22d, and reached the New York Navy Yard on the 25th.
Recommissioned on April 14, 1864, Brooklyn put to sea on 10 May under the command of Capt. James Alden, Jr. and rejoined her squadron off Mobile Bay on the last day of the month. There Farragut—who had resumed command—was eager to capture that strategic port, but was held up by the perennial lack of available Union Army troops—needed for the projected combined operation. He was also awaiting the arrival of monitors to strengthen the squadron for the forthcoming battle. Brooklyn helped to blockade Mobile Bay while Farragut waited for deficiencies to be corrected. Finally, late in July she and her squadron mates received orders to make ready for the long awaited attack.
On the morning of August 5, Farragut took his squadron of 18 ships, including four monitors, against the heavy Confederate defenses of Mobile Bay. Soon after 6 am, the Union ships crossed the bar and moved into the bay. The four monitors formed a column to starboard of the wooden ships in order to take most of the fire from Fort Morgan, which they had to pass at close range. Brooklyn led the second column, consisting of the seven smaller wooden ships lashed to the port side of the larger wooden screw steamers, as in the passage of Fort Hudson.
Shortly before 7 o'clock, Tecumseh opened fire on Fort Morgan, and the action quickly became general. As the 4-ship Confederate squadron engaged the attackers, a terrific explosion rocked the Union monitor USS Tecumseh. She careened violently and went down in seconds, the victim of one of the much-feared torpedoes (Naval mine) laid by the Confederates for harbor defense.
Alden, in Brooklyn, was to Tecumseh's port when the disaster occurred; the heavy steamer stopped and began backing to clear "a row of suspecious looking buoys" directly under Brooklyn's bow. The entire line of wooden vessels was drifting into confusion immediately under the guns of Fort Morgan. Farragut, lashed in the rigging to observe the action over the smoke billowing from the guns, acted promptly and resolutely. The only course was the boldest—through the torpedo field. "Damn the torpedoes", he ordered "full speed ahead." His flagship Hartford swept past Brooklyn into the rows of torpedoes; the fleet followed. The Union force steamed into the bay.
In the ensuing battle, the ironclad CSS Tennessee attempted in vain to ram Brooklyn. The Union fleet dispatched three of the Confederate ships, leaving Tennessee as the only defender. The lone ironclad then engaged the entire Union fleet. After a fierce battle lasting more than an hour, Tennessee was forced to surrender, resulting in a Union victory.
During the battle that lasted a bit more than three hours, Brooklyn suffered 54 men killed and 43 wounded while firing 183 projectiles. Twenty-three of Brooklyn's sailors and marines were awarded the Medal of Honor for their part in the battle. Their names were:
Ship's Cook William Blagheen
Captain of the Forecastle John Brown
Landsman William H. Brown
Coxswain John Laver Mather Cooper
Ordinary Seaman Samuel W. Davis
Sergeant J. Henry Denig (USMC)
Boatswain's Mate Richard Dennis
Coxswain William Halstead
Sergeant Michael Hudson (USMC)
Seaman Joseph Irlam
Coxswain John Irving
Seaman Nicholas Irwin
Quartermaster Barnett Kenna
Boy James Machon
Captain of the Top Alexander Mack
Coal Heaver William Madden
Engineer's Cook James Mifflin
Quartermaster William Nichols
Corporal Miles M. Oviatt (USMC)
Coxswain Edward Price
Corporal Willard M. Smith (USMC)
Coal Heaver James E. Sterling
Quartermaster Samuel Todd
Attack on Fort Fisher
After spending the next few weeks helping reduce the Confederate land works guarding the entrance, Brooklyn departed Mobile Bay on September 6 and headed for Hampton Roads for service in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Soon thereafter, Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter began to concentrate his warships for a joint Army-Navy operation against Fort Fisher, North Carolina. The fort guarded the approaches to Wilmington, North Carolina, the last major Confederate port still open for blockade runners. Brooklyn took part in the attack against that Southern stronghold which began with a bombardment on Christmas Eve. She helped to cover the landing of troops the next day, but the whole effort was brought to naught later that day when the Union Army commanding officer, Major General Benjamin F. Butler, decided that his forces could not carry the Confederate works and ordered his soldiers to re-embark.
Porter strongly disagreed with this decision in dispatches to Washington. General Ulysses S. Grant responded by placing a new commander over a larger Army force earmarked for another attempt to take Fort Fisher. Brooklyn was in the task force that arrived off Fort Fisher on January 13, 1865, and her guns supported the attack until the fort surrendered on the 15th. Since this victory completed the last major task of the Union Navy during the Civil War, Brooklyn sailed north and was decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on January 31, 1865.
Fort Moultrie is a series of fortifications on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, built to protect the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The first fort, built of palmetto logs, inspired the flag and nickname of South Carolina, "The Palmetto State". It is named for the commander in the Battle of Sullivan's Island, General William Moultrie.
In the months leading up to the Civil War John L. Gardner was in command at Fort Moultrie. With secession growing more imminent, Gardner had made several requests to Secretary of War John B. Floyd for more troops to garrison and defend the undermanned fortress. Each time his requests were ignored, as Floyd (who joined the Confederacy) was planning to hand the forts in Charleston Harbor over to the secessionists.
South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860. Around this time a Federal garrison from the 1st US Artillery was sent to Fort Moultrie. Unlike the state militia at the other forts, the Regular Army defenders of Fort Moultrie chose not to surrender to the South Carolina forces. On December 26, 1860, Union Major Robert Anderson moved his garrison from Fort Moultrie to the stronger Fort Sumter. On February 8, 1861, South Carolina joined other seceded Deep Southern states to form the Confederate States of America. In April 1861, Confederate troops shelled Fort Sumter into submission and the American Civil War began.
In April 1863, Federal ironclads and shore batteries began a bombardment of Fort Moultrie and the other forts around Charleston harbor. Over the ensuing twenty months, Union bombardment reduced Fort Sumter to a rubble pile and pounded Fort Moultrie below a sand hill, which protected it against further bombardment. The Rifled cannon proved its superiority to brickwork fortifications but not to the endurance of the Confederate artillerymen who continued to man Fort Moultrie. In February 1865, the Confederate Army finally abandoned the rubble of Fort Moultrie and evacuated the city of Charleston.
David Glasgow Farragut /ˈfærəɡət/ (also spelled Glascoe; July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) was a flag officer of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and admiral in the United States Navy. He is remembered for his order at the Battle of Mobile Bay (in which he was victorious) usually paraphrased as "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" in U.S. Navy tradition.
Farragut was born in 1801 to Jordi (George) Farragut, a native of Minorca, Spain, and his wife Elizabeth (née Shine, 1765–1808), of North Carolina Scots-Irish American descent, at Lowe's Ferry on the Holston River in Tennessee. It was a few miles southeast of Campbell's Station, near Knoxville.
His father operated the ferry and also served as a cavalry officer in the Tennessee militia. Jordi Farragut, son of Antoni Farragut and Joana Mesquida, became a Spanish merchant captain from Minorca. He joined the American Revolutionary cause after arriving in America in 1766, when he changed his first name to George. George was a naval lieutenant during the Revolutionary War, serving first with the South Carolina Navy then the Continental Naval forces. George and Elizabeth had moved west to Tennessee after his service in the American Revolution.
In 1805, George Farragut accepted a position at the U.S. port of New Orleans. He traveled there first and his family followed, in a 1,700-mile (2,700 km) flatboat adventure aided by hired rivermen, the then four-year-old Farragut's first voyage. The family was still living in New Orleans when Elizabeth died of yellow fever. His father made plans to place the young children with friends and family who could better care for them.
David's birth name was James. In 1808, after his mother's death, he agreed to live with David Porter, a naval officer whose father had been friends with James's father, as Porter's foster son. In 1812, James adopted the name "David" in honor of his foster father, with whom he went to sea late in 1810. David Farragut grew up in a naval family, as the foster brother of future Civil War admiral, David Dixon Porter, and Commodore William D. Porter.
David Farragut's naval career began as a midshipman when he was nine years old, and continued for 60 years until his death at the age of 69. This included service in several wars, most notably during the American Civil War, where he gained fame for winning several decisive naval battles.
Through the influence of his adoptive father, Farragut was commissioned a midshipman in the United States Navy on December 17, 1810, at the age of nine. A prize master by the age of 12, Farragut fought in the War of 1812, serving under Captain David Porter. While serving aboard USS Essex, Farragut participated in the capture of HMS Alert on August 13, 1812, then helped to establish America's first naval base and colony in the Pacific, named Fort Madison, during the ill-fated Nuku Hiva Campaign. At the same time, the Americans battled the hostile tribes on the islands with the help of their Te I'i allies.
Farragut was 12 years old when, during the War of 1812, he was given the assignment to bring a ship captured by the Essex safely to port. He was wounded and captured while serving on the Essex during the engagement at Valparaíso Bay, Chile, against the British on March 28, 1814.
Farragut was promoted to lieutenant in 1822, during the operations against West Indian pirates. In 1824, he was placed in command of USS Ferret, which was his first command of a U.S. naval vessel. He served in the Mosquito Fleet, a fleet of ships fitted out to fight pirates in the Caribbean Sea. After learning his old captain, Commodore Porter, would be commander of the fleet, he asked for, and received, orders to serve aboard Greyhound, one of the smaller vessels, commanded by John Porter, brother of David Porter. On February 14, 1823, the fleet set sail for the West Indies where, for the next six months, they would drive the pirates off the sea, and rout them from their hiding places in among the islands. He was executive officer aboard the Experiment during its campaign in the West Indies fighting pirates.
In 1847, Farragut, now a commander, took command of the sloop-of-war USS Saratoga when she was recommissioned at Norfolk Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. Assigned to the Home Squadron for service in the Mexican–American War, Saratoga departed Norfolk on March 29, 1847 bound for the Gulf of Mexico under Farragut's command and upon arriving off Veracruz, Mexico, on April 26, 1847 reported to the squadron's commander, Commodore Matthew C. Perry, for duty. On April 29, Perry ordered Farragut to sail Saratoga 150 nautical miles (173 miles; 278 km) to the north to blockade Tuxpan, where she operated from April 30 to July 12 before Farragut returned to Veracruz. About two weeks later, Farragut began a round-trip voyage to carry dispatches to Tabasco, returning to Veracruz on August 11, 1847. On September 1, 1847, Farragut and Saratoga returned to blockade duty off Tuxpan, remaining there for two months despite a yellow fever outbreak on board. Farragut then brought the ship back to Veracruz and, after a month there, got underway for the Pensacola Navy Yard in Pensacola, Florida, where Saratoga arrived on January 6, 1848, disembarked all of her seriously sick patients at the base hospital, and replenished her stores. On January 31, 1848, Farragut took the ship out of Pensacola bound for New York City, arriving there on February 19. Saratoga was decommissioned there on February 26, 1848.
In 1853, Secretary of the Navy James C. Dobbin selected Commander David G. Farragut to create Mare Island Navy Yard near San Francisco in San Pablo Bay. In August 1854, Farragut was called to Washington from his post as assistant inspector of ordnance at Norfolk, Virginia. President Franklin Pierce congratulated Farragut on his naval career and the task he was to undertake. On September 16, 1854, Commander Farragut arrived to oversee the building of the Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo, California, which became the port for ship repairs on the West Coast. Captain Farragut commissioned Mare Island on July 16, 1858. Farragut returned to a hero's welcome at Mare Island on August 11, 1859.
Though living in Norfolk, Virginia, prior to the American Civil War, Farragut made it clear to all who knew him that he regarded secession as treason. Just before the war's outbreak, Farragut moved with his Virginian-born wife to Hastings-on-Hudson, a small town just outside New York City.
He offered his services to the Union, and was initially given a seat on the Naval Retirement Board. Offered a command by his foster brother, David Dixon Porter, for a special assignment, he hesitated upon learning the target might be Norfolk. As he had friends and relatives living there, he was relieved to learn the target was changed to his former childhood home of New Orleans. The navy had some doubts about Farragut's loyalty to the Union because of his Southern birth as well as that of his wife. Porter argued on his behalf, and Farragut was accepted for the major role of attacking New Orleans.
Farragut was appointed under secret instructions on February 3, 1862, to command the Gulf Blockading Squadron, sailing from Hampton Roads on the screw steamer USS Hartford, bearing 25 guns, which he made his flagship, accompanied by a fleet of 17 ships. He reached the mouth of the Mississippi River, near Confederate forts St. Philip and Jackson, situated opposite one another along the banks of the river, with a combined armament of more than 100 heavy guns and a complement of 700 men. Now aware of Farragut's approach, the Confederates had amassed a fleet of 16 gunboats just outside New Orleans.
On April 18, Farragut ordered the mortar boats, under the command of Porter, to commence bombardment on the two forts, inflicting considerable damage, but not enough to compel the Confederates into surrender. After two days of heavy bombardment, Farragut ran past forts Jackson and St. Philip and the Chalmette batteries to take the city and port of New Orleans on April 29, a decisive event in the war.
Congress honored him by creating the rank of rear admiral on July 16, 1862, a rank never before used in the U.S. Navy. Before this time, the American Navy had resisted the rank of admiral, preferring the term "flag officer", to distinguish the rank from the traditions of the European navies.
Later that year, Farragut passed the batteries defending Vicksburg, Mississippi, but had no success there. A makeshift Confederate ironclad forced his flotilla of 38 ships to withdraw in July 1862.
While an aggressive commander, Farragut was not always cooperative. At the Siege of Port Hudson, the plan was that Farragut's flotilla would pass by the guns of the Confederate stronghold with the help of a diversionary land attack by the Army of the Gulf, commanded by General Nathaniel Banks, to commence at 8:00 a.m. on March 15, 1863. Farragut unilaterally decided to move the timetable up to 9:00 p.m. on March 14, and initiated his run past the guns before Union ground forces were in position. The consequently uncoordinated attack allowed the Confederates to concentrate on Farragut's flotilla and inflict heavy damage to his warships.
Farragut's battle group was forced to retreat with only two ships able to pass the heavy cannon of the Confederate bastion. After surviving the gauntlet, Farragut played no further part in the battle for Port Hudson, and General Banks was left to continue the siege without the advantage of naval support. The Union Army made two major attacks on the fort; both were repulsed with heavy losses. Farragut's flotilla was splintered, yet was able to blockade the mouth of the Red River with the two remaining warships; he could not efficiently patrol the section of the Mississippi between Port Hudson and Vicksburg. Farragut's decision proved costly to the Union Navy and the Union Army, which suffered its highest casualty rate of the war at Port Hudson.
Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863, leaving Port Hudson as the last remaining Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. General Banks accepted the surrender of the Confederate garrison at Port Hudson on July 9, ending the longest siege in U.S. military history. Control of the Mississippi River was the centerpiece of the Union strategy to win the war, and, with the surrender of Port Hudson, the Confederacy was now cut in two.
On August 5, 1864, Farragut won a great victory in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Mobile, Alabama, was then the Confederacy's last major open port on the Gulf of Mexico. The bay was heavily mined (tethered naval mines were then known as "torpedoes"). Farragut ordered his fleet to charge the bay. When the monitor USS Tecumseh struck a mine and sank, the others began to pull back.
Farragut could see the ships pulling back from his high perch, where he was lashed to the rigging of his flagship, USS Hartford. "What's the trouble?", he shouted through a trumpet to USS Brooklyn. "Torpedoes", was the shouted reply. "Damn the torpedoes.", said Farragut, "Four bells, Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed." The bulk of the fleet succeeded in entering the bay. Farragut triumphed over the opposition of heavy batteries in Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines to defeat the squadron of Admiral Franklin Buchanan.
After the Civil War, Farragut was elected a companion of the first class of the New York Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States on March 18, 1866 and assigned insignia number 231. He served as the commander of the Commandery of New York from May 1866 to until his death.
Farragut was promoted to full admiral on July 25, 1866, becoming the first U.S. Naval officer to hold that rank.
His last active service was in command of the European Squadron, from 1867 to 1868, with the screw frigate USS Franklin as his flagship. Farragut remained on active duty for life, an honor accorded to only seven other U.S. Naval officers after the Civil War.
Admiral Farragut died from a heart attack at the age of 69 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, while on vacation in the late summer of 1870. He had served almost sixty years in the navy. He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, in The Bronx, New York City. His gravesite is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is Woodlawn Cemetery itself.
After appointment and an initial cruise as acting lieutenant commanding USS Ferret, Farragut married Susan Caroline Marchant on September 2, 1824. After years of ill-health, Susan Farragut died on December 27, 1840. Farragut was noted for his kindly treatment of his wife during her illness.
After the death of his first wife, Farragut married Virginia Dorcas Loyall, on December 26, 1843, with whom he had one surviving son, named Loyall Farragut, born October 12, 1844. Loyall Farragut graduated from West Point in 1868, and served as a second lieutenant in the US Army before resigning in 1872. He spent most of the remainder of his career as an executive with the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey. He died in 1916.
Timeline of service:
December 17, 1810, appointed midshipman.
1812, assigned to the USS Essex.
1815–1817, served in the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Independence and the Macedonian.
1818, studied ashore for nine months at Tunis.
1819, served as a lieutenant on the USS Shark.
1823, placed in command of the USS Ferret.
January 10, 1825, promoted to lieutenant on the frigate Brandywine.
1826–1838, served in subordinate capacities on various vessels.
1838, placed in command of the sloop Erie.
September 8, 1841, promoted to the rank of commander.
Mexican–American War, commanded the sloop of war, Saratoga.
1848–1853, duty at Norfolk, Navy Yard in Virginia as Assistant Inspector of Ordinance.
September 1852 – August 1853, assigned to superintend the testing of the endurance of naval gun batteries at Old Point Comfort at Fort Monroe in Virginia.
1853–1854, duty at Washington, D.C.
September 14, 1855, promoted to the rank of captain.
1854–1858, duty establishing Mare Island Navy Yard at San Francisco Bay.
1858–1859, commander of the sloop of war USS Brooklyn.
1860–1861, stationed at Norfolk Navy Yard.
January 1862, commanded USS Hartford and the West Gulf blockading squadron of 17 vessels.
April 1862, took command of occupied New Orleans.
July 16, 1862, promoted to rear admiral.
June 23, 1862, wounded near Vicksburg, Mississippi.
May 1863, commanded USS Monongahela.
May 1863, commanded the USS Pensacola.
July 1863, commanded USS Tennessee.
August 5, 1864, Battle of Mobile Bay
September 5, 1864, offered command of the North Atlantic Blocking Squadron, but he declined because of family issues.
December 21, 1864, promoted to vice admiral.
April 1865, pallbearer for the funeral of Abraham Lincoln.
July 25, 1866, promoted to admiral.
June 1867, commanded USS Franklin.
1867–1868, commanded European Squadron
Inventory Number: FLA 009